Well by now, you all know that little Eloise has arrived and if you follow me on Facebook, Insta or Snapchat you’ve been flooded with pictures of our little cutie and her adorable dimples. But I wanted to share her birth story and a little bit more about how she came into this world. As a first time momma, I was obsessed with reading other people’s birth stories, which was an emotional roller coaster. I’d read one about a 48 hour labor and be convinced the same would happen to me. Then I’d read one about a 48 minute labor (seriously) and think for a split second I would get just as lucky. Well, neither of those things happened which just verifies the fact that every single labor is different and you should stay off the internet. Impossible I know.
So let’s back track a bit. My due date was January 25th which came and went with zero signs of labor in the near future. That was a Monday and I had an appointment scheduled that Thursday with my midwife. She told us we could schedule me to get induced the next day (Friday) or wait another week and schedule me the following Friday. We were still hopeful that she might come on her own, and knowing that being induced typically caused worse contractions, I wanted to wait it out. So wait we did.
I tried all the tricks in the book but little E was quite stubborn. I went for walks, bounced on my yoga ball, ate spicy foods, and yes we even tried sexy time. She wasn’t budging. I never really had any contractions either, just LOTS of braxton hicks and a sore pelvis. Since I was past due, my midwife wanted me to come in twice the following week for an ultrasound and non stress tests. Which if you aren’t familiar with, you sit in a recliner with two monitors strapped around your belly and they monitor the baby’s heart rate as well as contractions. They are basically just checking to make sure your baby is still moving about and isn’t under any stress. And they give you juice to wake her up if she’s sleepy, which little E was from time to time. It was kind of relaxing getting to lay there and listen to her heart beating, all while trying to coax her to come out. All my tests went fine and before we knew it, it was Thursday. We met with my midwife again and she scheduled me to go in at 5am the next to get induced.
All of a sudden, things started getting real. Before, we were just waiting and wondering when she would make her appearance, and now it was about to happen one way or another. We would have a baby the next day. Hopefully. Unless my fears came true and a 48 hour labor was awaiting. Thankfully, not the case.
So Thursday night, my parents came in town and we all went out to dinner at this delicious Italian restaurant that had amazing steaks. Not gonna lie, I started feeling pretty crampy and uncomfortable and for a moment thought maybe this was it. Maybe she’ll come on her own after all. Nope. I think it was just my body not being used to being off the couch for this long. At home, after I ate, I could relax and lounge. At the restaurant, I was in an uncomfy chair with an extra full belly (hello fried zucchini). Once I got home, I felt pretty much back to normal and the butterflies started to settle in.
I’m really not sure how I got any sleep that night, but I somehow managed to doze off and before I knew it, my alarm was going off at 4:00. I grabbed my bag and we were off to the hospital, excited to meet little E. We checked in and got up to our room which had a beautiful view over Lake Erie as the sun was starting to rise. It was a peaceful few minutes with me and the hubs before the chaos began and our lives changed forever.
At this point I started getting pretty nervous. For those of you that don’t know me well, I have like a negative 500 pain threshold. I’m a baby. I’ll admit it. If I’m sick or hungover, I’m the worst, and all my friends can vouch for that. So when I was say I was terrified of giving birth, I’m not lying. Our only birth plan was that I wanted the epidural. Throughout my whole pregnancy I’d give myself pep talks about how I could do it, and my body was built for this and will know what to do, and God will get me through it. All valid, but when it was go time, I was a bit shaky. The nurse who took my blood pressure even asked if I was nervous because it was way higher than normal.
So I’m on the bed, getting comfy, and the nurse is putting in my IV’s, one for the Pitocin and one for antibiotics because I had GBS. She also put on a little fetal monitor to monitor the baby’s heart rate. My midwife came in to check on me and then it was just me and the hubby again. After ten minutes or so I felt what I can only assume was a small contraction. It wasn’t really painful but just uncomfortable and unlike anything I had felt up to this point. The nurse came in once after that and fiddled around with my IVs but neither of us really thought anything of it. What we learned later was that she was shutting off the Pitocin. And before I knew it, my midwife was back calmly explaining that with the couple small contractions I did have, the baby’s heart rate was drastically dropping and if she couldn’t handle that, there was no way she was going to be able to handle labor. She told us I’d have to get a C-Section. We both looked at each other and the hubby asked when, thinking we’d have some time to process it all, but she said with urgency, right now. The tears started to come and before I knew it, there were a half dozen people standing in our room and the anesthesiologist is rambling off the process and how it works and oh, sign here and here because you could die. I couldn’t even tell you one word he said, I just signed my life away. Nurses were taking off my jewelry and the hubby was putting on some hospital attire they gave him. I heard him call my parents and his Dad saying “we have some bad news and we have some good news.” Looking back on it, not the best choice of words. Not that there was really any bad news, just a change of plans.
Next, they had to wheel me back into the surgery room and prep me, and the hubs couldn’t be there during that. I literally had no idea what to expect. It’s one thing if you know you’re having a C-Section and you read up on it to try and prepare. Of course I knew the just of it, but it wasn’t planned so I didn’t put too much time into reading about it. I had the absolute sweetest nurse who was by my side the whole time and I just kept thinking how happy I was that she was there and holding my hand. They had to give me a numbing shot before giving me the spinal block, which of course I was scared of too. The one thing I did read about was the size of that needle. Thankfully, it was only a small pinch for the first shot and then I hardly even felt the spinal. The whole time, I was leaning over draped into the nurses arms and she was talking me through it all. She had the most calming voice and it really helped put me at ease.
Now that my legs were turning to jello, they picked me up and put me on the operating table. Not being able to feel your legs is such an odd feeling and one I really can’t explain. Thank God they wait until after the shot to put the catheter in. I could feel it happening, but at the same time felt nothing. They put up a big white sheet just below my chest and spread both my arms out to the sides. I’ve never felt more vulnerable in my life. Luckily, at this point the hubs was allowed to come in. He sat down next to me and grabbed my hand and the surgeon began to slice me open. Now, out of the corner of my eye, I could see a little reflection of what was going on in the light above me. I think I would have passed out if I actually looked directly at that reflection so I turned my head and locked eyes with my hubby. The doctor started pulling out my organs, which is pretty much exactly what it felt like but with zero pain. I just felt a tugging sensation as he removed whatever he needed to to get to our baby. Then I felt a larger tug and I knew that was her. The hubby and I stared at one another and a second later we heard the most beautiful noise that I’ll never forget. Her sweet little cry. She was here.
I heard my midwife say “we’ve got a full head of hair” and moments later she brought her around the sheet so I could see her. She was perfect.
8 lbs. 1 oz. 21 inches long.
Now the kind of crappy thing about a c-section is you can’t move (obviously) and I couldn’t see them cleaning her up or the hubby cutting her umbilical chord. Luckily, all the nurses were yelling at him to take as many pictures as he could so I wouldn’t kill him later 🙂 So here, I was laying there on the table with my insides all over the place, just savoring the little noises I could hear. The doc sewed me back up and they gave little E to the hubs and he took her to the recovery room where I met him a few minutes later. This picture melts my heart.
The crazy thing about all this is that it’s probably taking me longer to write this post than it did for all of that to happen. From the time my midwife came in and told us I had to have a C-section, to when I heard her sweet cry, was about a half hour. And from the time the doc took that first cut to when she was officially born was like 5 minutes. Crazy.
I was in the recovery room for about an hour where I got to do skin on skin and enjoy those first moments with my daughter. She felt so tiny in my arms and all I wanted to do was hold her close to me and never let her go.
After recovery, I was wheeled to my room where we stayed for the next three nights. The first full day I didn’t leave my bed since I still had the catheter in. They put these compression sleeves on my legs to keep my blood flow circulating and I was getting pain meds through my IV. And those pain meds were amazing. Just laying in bed I had no pain, but when I got up for the first time the next day to go to the bathroom, it hurt like hell. Recovering from a C-Section is no joke, and that first week was definitely a struggle. They put this velcro wrap around my belly to help hold everything in place and let me tell you, that thing was a life saver. I wore it all day every day for the first two weeks.
Little E had a little trouble figuring out how to latch on at first, but let me assure you, she doesn’t have any problem with that now. She loves her noms. The amazing thing about the women’s center we were at is that they have a nursery, and every night starting at 10 they would take her there so that we could get some sleep. Even though they still brought her back every two hours so I could feed her, from 10 pm to 6 am, we got a little break and were able to get some sleep.
It’s hard to believe those first few nights were over two months ago now, but they’re days that I’ll never forget. Although things definitely didn’t go how I imagined, I’m just happy we have a healthy, happy baby. I’m not mad I had to get a C-section. I know some women feel like they were robbed of experiencing real labor and some women think having one is taking the easy way out, but I just don’t agree. It’s still scary, it’s still painful and I’ve got the scar to prove it.
Maybe it was God’s way of telling me I really couldn’t handle labor. Who knows 🙂 All I know is that we love her to pieces and she’s basically the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.